Sunday, June 19, 2011

In honor of the best daddy in the whole world...


I love my dad. He is my coach, my cheerleader, my hero, my number one man. He's taught me how to say my prayers, ride a bike, solve differential equations, appreciate butterflies, and use eating utensils correctly. He courageously survived my teenage years and came out on top. Here are some of my favorite memories of my dad.

Rebecca and I went on a camping trip with Dad when I was about nine or ten, and I can distinctly remember canoeing through some exciting rapids, made even more exciting when Rebecca "accidentally" fell out of the boat and started floating downstream. I remember roasting marshmallows that evening and flinging the burnt marshmallow skins at nearby trees.

 I have many fond memories of trips to Scotland with Dad. Every day he would force us to go outside on some walk or other and we would complain and whine the entire time. He would try to fit in as much as he could into the two or three weeks we were there, and all we wanted to do was sit around and play card games and eat toffees. But I am so grateful that he did it. I wouldn't trade those memories for a lifetime supply of toffee, not even the Cadbury Chocolate Eclairs.

When I was twelve, Dad and I ran the Yorktown July 4th 5k. I was nervous because I wanted to do well and impress him. I did some research (it's amazing what you can find on Google) and turns out we both placed fourth in our age group! Of course, his time was six and a half minutes faster than mine, but that's not important.

Something I love about my dad is his cheesy smile. It is physical proof of his goofiness, a quality that many people don't realize he has. (P.S. Can we just pause a second to admire my coat? Okay, thanks.)
I really enjoy sitting with Dad in Sunday School and listening to his comments. They are always so logical and well-formed, and they make me think about things in a different perspective. Dad has taught me to be more open-minded, and I admire the way that he can make his religious beliefs and his scientific beliefs mesh so cohesively in his mind. I've also learned from him how to develop well-educated opinions and that I should avoid having opinions that I haven't thought through and reasoned out for myself.

I tended to have parties most weekends during high school, and Dad was normally very patient unless we were talking loudly during an episode of Dr. Who (a felony in our household). At my Harry Potter themed 18th birthday party, he even participated, dressing up as Professor Snape.

I remember the day when Dad started to build our tree house. I loved that tree house. We used to pretend it was a space ship and we would "paint" it with water. We had to paint really fast so that the wood would still be the dark, wet-wood color when we finished. I also remember the big yellow swing that he hung up. My dad is so smart and resourceful. He can always figure out things when he sets his mind to it. He wanted to hang the swing higher than his ladder would reach, so he climbed up the ladder and carried up another ladder with him. He then lashed the second ladder to the tree and climbed up from there. That swing was the coolest swing in the whole neighborhood, and you could go as high as the roof of the house if Dad was pushing you.

I have so many special memories involving my dad and soccer. He coached me every year as I was growing up and taught me to have a passion for the sport. He tried his best to teach me how to productively channel my frustration and sometimes I managed to do it! One time Dad was teaching us about defense and he said, "Who can tell me what marking means?" Due to Dad's accent, Nico misheard him and responded, "It's when you make fun of someone, isn't it?" I still laugh every time I think about that. Dad was a smart coach and was able to balance fairness with a desire to win. He isn't like those wimpy coaches that you get these days who try and put every person in every position. He gave everyone fair time while being strategic in his lineup. He was also very supportive when I did soccer in high school and whenever I played, I wanted to make him proud.

Dad has always pushed me to be as good as I can be, and I am so grateful for that. I may not have enjoyed it at the time, but hindsight tends to be 20/20 and I know we wouldn't be as close now if we didn't have those problems then. Sometimes I thought he was insensitive, but I always knew he loved me. And really, that's the most important thing. Thanks Dad. No matter how old I get (or how old you get!) I will always be your little girl and you will always be my teacher, father, and friend.

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